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|Type||Internet-based or paper-based standardized test.|
|Developer / administrator||Educational Testing Service|
|Knowledge / skills tested||Reading, listening, speaking and writing of the English language.|
|Purpose||To assess the English language proficiency of non-native English speakers.|
|Duration||Internet-based test (iBT): 3 hours 10 minutes to 4 hours 20 minutes (excluding 10-minute break in-between). |
Paper-based test (PBT): 2 hours 20 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes.
|Score / grade range||iBT: |
0 to 30 (in 1 point increments) on each of the 4 sections. So total of 0 to 120.
Listening: 31 to 68, Structure: 31 to 69, Reading: 31 to 67. Total of 310 to 677. Writing (separate): 0 to 6. (All in 1 point increments.)
|Score / grade validity||2 years|
|Offered||iBT: More than 50 times a year.|
|Restrictions on attempts||iBT: Can be taken only once in any 12-day period.|
|Countries / regions||4,500 test centers in 165 countries.|
|Annual number of test takers||?|
|Prerequisites / eligibility criteria||No official prerequisite. Intended for non-native English speakers.|
|Fee||iBT: US$ 160 to US$ 250, depending on the country. |
PBT: US$ 180.
|Scores / grades used by||More than 10,000 colleges, agencies and other institutions in over 130 countries.|
Test of English as a Foreign Language® (TOEFL // TOH-fəl) is a standardized test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enroll in English-speaking universities. The test is accepted by many English-speaking academic and professional institutions. TOEFL is one of the two major English-language tests in the world, the other being the IELTS.
TOEFL is a trademark of the Educational Testing Service (ETS), a private non-profit organization, which designs and administers the tests. ETS issues official score reports, sent independently to institutions, for two years following the test.
In 1962, a national council made up of representatives of thirty government and private organizations was formed to address the problem of ensuring English language proficiency for non-native speakers wishing to study at U.S. universities. This council recommended the development and administration of the TOEFL exam for the 1963-1964 time frame.
In 1973, a cooperative arrangement was made between ETS, The College Board, and the Graduate Record Examinations board of advisers to oversee and run the program. ETS was to administer the exam with the guidance of the TOEFL board.
To the present day, college admission criteria for international students who are nationals of some of the Commonwealth nations exempt them from taking the TOEFL exam. Nations which are part of the English-speaking world (from most Commonwealth realms to former British colonies e.g., Hong Kong SAR or former protectorates of the United States (Philippines, Puerto Rico) where English is the de facto official language automatically grants a TOEFL exemption with some restrictions (e.g., residents of Quebec are required to take TOEFL while the rest of Canada is exempt - also inclusive of Commonwealth nations where English is not an official language e.g., Mozambique or Namibia (English is co-official but spoken by 3% of the population)). However, this does not apply to some Commonwealth nations outside the Anglosphere, such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc., even though they may have English as the de facto official language.
Since its introduction in late 2005, the TOEFL Internet-based Test (iBT) format has progressively replaced the computer-based tests (CBT) and paper-based tests (PBT), although paper-based testing is still used in select areas. The TOEFL iBT test has been introduced in phases, with the United States, Canada, France, Germany, and Italy in 2005 and the rest of the world in 2006, with test centers added regularly. The CBT was discontinued in September 2006 and these scores are no longer valid.
Initially, the demand for test seats was higher than availability, and candidates had to wait for months. It is now possible to take the test within one to four weeks in most countries. The four-hour test consists of four sections, each measuring one of the basic language skills (while some tasks require integrating multiple skills), and all tasks focus on language used in an academic, higher-education environment. Note-taking is allowed during the TOEFL iBT test. The test cannot be taken more than once every 12 days.
|Reading||3–4 passages, each containing 12–14 questions||60–80 minutes|
|Listening||6–9 passages, each containing 5–6 questions||60–90 minutes|
|Break||Mandatory break||10 minutes|
|Speaking||6 tasks||20 minutes|
|Writing||2 tasks||50 minutes|
One of the sections of the test will include extra, uncounted material. Educational Testing Service includes extra material to pilot test questions for future test forms. When test-takers are given a longer section, they should give equal effort to all of the questions because they do not know which question will count and which will be considered extra. For example, if there are four reading passages instead of three, then one of the passages will not be counted. Any of the four could be the uncounted one.
The TOEFL PDT is an official test for use where the internet test is unavailable, usually due to internet & computer issues.
It consists of the Listening, Reading, and Writing sections, with scores that are the same scale as the Internet Based Test. There is no total score.
The TOEFL® paper-based Test (PBT) was available in limited areas until 2017, when it was replaced by the Paper-delivered test. Scores are valid for two years after the test date, and test takers can have their scores sent to institutions or face time.
The TOEFL PBT was discontinued at the end of May 2017. Official testing in areas without internet or computers now uses the TOEFL PDT.
Most colleges use TOEFL scores as only one factor in their admission process, with a college or program within a college often setting a minimum TOEFL score required. The minimum TOEFL iBT scores range from 61 (Bowling Green State University) to 110 (University of Oxford).
ETS has released tables to convert between iBT, CBT and PBT scores.
TOEFL ITP ("ITP" stands for "Institutional Testing Program") tests are paper-based and use academic content to evaluate the English-language proficiency of non-native English speakers. The tests use new and previously administered TOEFL test questions and are used for placement, progress, evaluation, exit testing and other situations. The test scores, format and content of the test matches the "TOEFL PBT", with the exception of not including the TWE (Test of Written Expression).
Unlike the TOEFL iBT and PBT tests, TOEFL ITP tests are administered by the institution and for internal use. It should not replace the need for the TOEFL iBT test, which is administered securely and includes Speaking and Writing components. There are two levels of TOEFL ITP: Level 1 (intermediate to advanced) and Level 2 (high beginning to intermediate).TOEFL ITP scores are mapped to the CEFR and test takers are provided with a certificate of achievement.
ETS also offers the TOEFL Junior tests, a general assessment of middle school-level English-language proficiency. It is intended for students aged 11+.The tests are administered in two formats: TOEFL Junior Standard (on paper) and TOEFL Junior Comprehensive (via computer). The TOEFL Junior Standard test has three sections: Reading Comprehension, Listening Comprehension and Language Form and Meaning. The TOEFL Junior Comprehensive test has four: Reading Comprehension, Listening Comprehension, Speaking and thWriting. TOEFL Junior scores are mapped to the CEFR and test takers are provided with a certificate of achievement.
|IELTS Score||TOEFL Score||TOEFL PBT Score||IELTS Description|
|9||118-120||≥ 645||Expert User|
|8.5||115-117||626 - 644||Very Good User|
|8||110-114||610 - 625|
|7.5||102-109||581 - 609||Good User|
|7||94-101||560 - 580|
|6.5||79-93||546 - 559||Competent User|
|6||60-78||530 - 545|
|5.5||42-59||516 - 529||Modest User|
|5||35-41||490 - 515|
|4.5||32-34||450 - 489||Limited User|
|0-4||0-31||400 - 449||Extremely Limited/Intermittent/Non User|